• Artwork

    Podae-Hwasang – The Hempen Bag: 포대화상

    The History of Podae-Hwasang Until recently, I had no idea that Podae-hwasang even existed in Buddhism. It was only after researching him a bit more that I found out who the easily misidentified jovial figure was. Sometimes, he can be confused for the Buddha, but he’s in fact Podae-hwasang. Podae-hwasang, who is better known as Budai or Pu-Tai in Chinese, is a disguised monk. Podae-hwasang is believed to be an incarnation of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). The name Budai, in Chinese, means “hempen sack” (more on that later). Podae-hwasang first appeared in 10th century Chinese folktales. It’s believed that Podae-hwasang was a monk from Huyang, China. He was born in Myeongju,…

  • Artwork

    Mireuk-jeon – The Future Buddha Hall: 미륵전

    Introduction According to tradition, Mireuk-bul, or the “Future Buddha,” in English, will achieve Buddhahood in 5.67 billion years after the death of the historical Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul. So Mireuk-bul is seen as both a Buddha and a Bodhisattva, which can sometimes be a bit confusing when you visit a temple and see that Mireuk-bul is Mireuk-bosal, or vice versa. They are one in the same, just at different stages of their spiritual journey. Mireuk-bul is the next in a long line of Buddhas much like Seokgamoni-bul (the Buddha we all know). Until then, Mireuk-bul resides in Dosol-cheon (Tusita Heaven) as a Bodhisattva, Mireuk-bosal. Currently, he passes his time by teaching heavenly…

  • Jeju-do

    Gwaneumsa Temple – 관음사 (Jeju City, Jeju-do)

    Temple History Gwaneumsa Temple, which is located in Jeju City, Jeju-do Island, is named after the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Gwanseeum-bosal. A somewhat common name for a temple in Korea, Gwaneumsa Temple is located on the northeast side of Mt. Hallasan (1947.06 m). And the area around Mt. Hallasan is a National Park. In fact, alongside Mt. Jirisan (1915 m) and Mt. Seoraksan (1708 m), Mt. Hallasan is considered one of the three major mountains in South Korea. It’s believed that Gwaneumsa Temple dates back to sometime during the Tamna State – 탐라국 (耽羅國) (?-1404) rule over Jeju-do Island, during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). More specifically, and according to locals, Gwaneumsa…

  • Jeollabuk-do

    Geumsansa Temple – 금산사 (Gimje, Jeollabuk-do)

    Temple History Geumsansa Temple, which means “Golden Mountain Temple,” in English is located in a flat river valley on the western slopes of Moaksan Provincial Park in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do. Geumsansa Temple was first established in either 599 or 600 A.D., depending on the source, during the reign of King Beop of Baekje (r. 599-600 A.D.). When it was first built, it was rather unassuming and nothing like it is today. It wasn’t until 762 A.D., under the guidance of the monk Jinpyo (8th century), that Geumsansa Temple was rebuilt. Geumsansa Temple was rebuilt over a six year period. Numerous buildings at the temple were rebuilt at this time including the…